When it comes to wildlife attractions, Orlando definitely has no shortage of animal venues. You may already be familiar with the biggest ones including Disney’s Animal Kingdom and SeaWorld Orlando, but there are many other wildlife venues that you should check out while you’re in the area. We are going to take a look at 10 of the lesser-known wildlife attractions that you should definitely visit if you’re vacationing in the Orlando area. Of course, SeaWorld and the Animal Kingdom are always worth a visit, but they have disadvantages too, such as crowds and cost. That’s why you might prefer to skip them entirely in favor of these lesser-known venues.
Sea Life Aquarium in Orlando
You have to visit the Sea Life Aquarium in Orlando if you are an animal lover. The Sea Life Aquarium is located at the I-Drive 360 right next to the wax museum. This is the perfect aquarium for kids because it was built with them in mind specifically. The exhibits and animal displays are all the perfect size for kids and the attraction offers lots of interactive exhibits as well as games. There is a huge indoor playground with 5000 fish surrounding it and a 360 degree ocean tunnel that has real sharks swimming around in the water. Sea Life Aquarium may not have as much to do as SeaWorld, but it is still worth visiting.
Whether you are obsessed with dinosaurs or not, Dinosaur World is definitely worth visiting; it is one of the most unique and immersive dinosaur exhibits available anywhere in the world. Dinosaur World allows you to take your own tour through the outdoor museum area where more than 200 different life-sized dinosaurs are present in their natural habitats. You’ll be walking through history, and feel the thrill that you might have felt if you were to visit Jurassic Park in real life. But there is more to do than just check out the dinosaurs. You also can dig for fossils and uncover a life-sized dinosaur skeleton from the sand; as well as take a guided tour with the paleontologist.
Gator Land is one of the most unique alligator exhibits in the country. Florida is pretty famous for their gator population, and this unique and original theme park has been entertaining visitors with alligators since the 40’s. It’s a 110-acre wildlife preserve that features alligators and crocodiles of all sizes and shapes. There are even baby crocodiles and alligators you can get your picture taken with. Can you imagine a better souvenir? You can also watch shows with trained animal, ride down a zip line, visit the petting zoo and take an off-road adventure ride within the park as well. If you are in Orlando, Gator Land is definitely one of the places that you should make time to go see.
The reason that people love Discovery Cove is that there is so much interactivity going on with the animals; plus the fact that you get to splash around in the water all day may have something to do with it. This is a combination of a huge animal park and water park. You can swim with dolphins, check out tropical fish up close, and watch animal shows. You may even get a chance to come face-to-face with fierce sharks and barracuda or check out the free flight aviary that has dozens of exotic birds that are not present in this part of the world. There is a lot to do and see at Discovery Cove and you will want to take advantage of their all-inclusive option, too.
Blue Springs State Park
The Blue Springs State Park is a terrific place to visit, but it is not your typical amusement park. In fact, it’s not really an amusement park at all. It is more like a place to get away from everything. Blue Springs State Park offers things like camping, fishing and swimming in the spring, summer and fall. There is also tubing and hiking or you can charter a boat tour if you like. Blue Springs State Park is unique because West Indian manatees come here to spend the cold winter months and if you go anywhere from November through March you will be able to see them and get up close to them.
Westgate River Ranch Rodeo
Some people grow up in rural areas and are pretty familiar with rodeo and riding, but some people never get the opportunity to see an actual horse up close or a complete rodeo. For the latter group of people, the Westgate River Ranch Rodeo is the perfect solution. They offer things like tractor-pulled hayrides, riding mechanical bulls and getting up close with the Wild West. Then there is the rodeo itself where you can watch cowboys try to stay on the back of bucking broncos and eat incredible food such as barbecue chicken, corn on the cob and baked beans.
If you think that “if you’ve seen one zoo you’ve seen them all” then you obviously have never visited this one. Other zoos will allow you to walk through animal exhibits and get up close with some of them, but this is the only zoo in the United States that offers guided kayak tours through animal exhibits. It is also one of the most interactive activities in the Orlando area for young children, allowing them to pet a rhinoceros, feed the giraffes, and hold a baby alligator. This is a kid-friendly exhibit that is within driving distance to Orlando.
The Giraffe Ranch
The Giraffe Ranch is a lot more than just giraffes. Of course, you want to come for the giraffes, but you will be able to take a tour through all of the animals present in the park in several different modes of transportation including Segway safaris, riding camels or driving a vehicle. You can feed giraffes and other animals while learning all about them and the conservation efforts that are taking place to protect them. The Giraffe Ranch is located in Dade City which is about an hour outside of Orlando. You do need to call to make a reservation.
Visit Aquatica Orlando at least once while you are in the area especially if you’re visiting SeaWorld. This is a water park like no other with huge water slides, relaxing lazy river and wave pools, enclosed tubing that is one of the most exciting thrill rides you will ever go on and rides that allow you to play with the dolphins as well. You’ll be able to race through water rides at the same speeds as the animals around you and it is really exciting.
Forever Florida Horseback Safari
If you are looking for a peaceful afternoon where you can commune with nature then the Forever Florida Horseback Safari might be right up your alley. The main attraction is obviously the horseback riding, giving you a guided tour through the Forever Florida conservation area and allowing you to check out the wildlife that is present everywhere in this area. You’ll be able to see the wildlife that is native to the area including deer, hogs, wild turkeys and more. Don’t worry if you are not an experienced rider, because they have horses to match up with your riding skill, and everyone should take a horseback ride at least once in their life.
For those that already have their trip here to Orlando booked, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a solution that includes a lot of these attractions right off the bat, so you don’t have to end up paying at the front gates every single time for a ticket.
The Orlando Sightseeing Pass is a one-time price that includes free entry into over 25 different popular attractions in the Orlando area. This is one of those tidbits that will save you so much on your vacation, especially to a place like Orlando that is so attraction-driven. Learn more here and let us know how your trip went when you return.
Orlando really has something for everyone. If you’re looking to enjoy some tranquil time on your next vacation down to Orlando, or maybe you want to find your inner nature lover, these Orlando attractions are perfect. They’re great for families or couples, and are pretty easy on the wallet. If you’re looking to travel to Orlando and you’re looking for cheap hotel packages, check out our timeshare vacation packages from StayPromo.com.